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I don’t know about you, but we put effort in decorating a space and we love it. But is it kid proof? Is there even such a thing. Honestly, I really don’t know, so I thought I should try and find out if such a thing actually does exist. Thanks for coming with me on this quest. LOL
Please remember I am in no way a specialist in this area, a health care professional and this blog is my opinion only, it’s not fact, it’s just my understanding/ summary of my research and I’m not talking about safety proofing a room, that’s for your own research and decisions that work for you.
Ok, here goes! From my research, I think the first place to start is to ensure there’s not an underlying medical challenge that needs to be addressed. This blog is not intended to cover suitable techniques or ideas for children with Autism, Physical disabilities or any other medical condition that may need specialist attention and advice.
With that said, I found it really interesting that most of, if not all, of the articles I read suggested a LESS IS MORE approach from the start. And when you think about it, it makes simple and logical sense. If we are honest, our children have an obscene (yes obscene) amount of toys, books, pens, activity books, electronic devices – the list really does go on and on and on (ok, you get my point). It makes me sick to think of all the children out there that don’t even get breakfast let alone the new, must have, Barbie Dreamhouse or the fully kitted out Hot-Wheels track set. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t get these toys for our kids, what I think the LESS IS MORE concept is about trying to ensure that their spaces include the items/ things that interest them in this moment.
The first cool thing I read about was a toy rotation approach and I thought I'd stop here and dive deeper into this concept for this blog. But, before you go too far with me on this one, there are a few things to note:
Ok, so you are all cool with the above “caveats”! Next step is to go through all of their toys, yep ALL of their toys. For all you super organisers (you know who you are), this is your domain. We need to Marie Kondo the sh*t out of these toys. Put them into categories first or think of it as simply “like-with-like”.
And so on. This is a great time to be brutal, let’s be honest, there are very few children who know exactly what toys they have, or where they even are. Mine certainly don’t, do yours? My research also suggests that it's a fact that very few kids know what toys they have or where they are at any given time.
So, let's start by asking yourself these questions.
Lastly the (and arguably the most important) questions are - Now that I’ve read all this, can I really do this? Can I be decisive enough to do this properly? If not, then maybe try again later. This approach takes commitment to get it done so that it works, it’s not something you can a little bit of and expect results and having said, that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with knowing our limits, getting rid of things can be a huge trigger for many people and we certainly don’t need any more pressure. We get enough from our little darlings every day – am I right?
Remember that the overall goal of a toy rotation is for our children to genuinely enjoy playing with their toys. If they love their Legos and happily play with them every day, there’s no need to tuck them away to entice their interest. It’s a great way to not overwhelm them with choices. Think about how hard a really large menu is to choose from and undoubtedly one of you will get full-blown menu envy – admit it, it’s true!
Toy rotation isn’t about restricting toys, it’s about giving our kids a more targeted approach to their play time. When the existing toys are no longer getting their attention then maybe it’s time for a rotation. I read that one good way to identify that children might be ready for a toy rotation is actually one of the reasons you’re reading this blog in the first place – they start leaving them everywhere [again], disregarding them in a way.
Ok, so we’ve got toys categorised, we have the space to store the “off-duty” toys. We need to somehow label the boxes, so we know what’s in them for future rotations. I literally just tape half an A4 piece of paper to the outside – I know, high tech right!
Celebrate the toys that have “made the cut” for the current rotation and put them on display if you can or have them easily accessible for the kids (god knows we’d hate for them to actually have to work to find their toys 😊). This way you can even get them excited to see “what’s next”, the anticipation is actually half the fun (for us all).
Above is a great (albeit highly unrealistic) example of a decluttered playroom (I don't think I've had a room look like this since I've had kids, have you?)
I read that it’s also a good idea to create a rotation schedule and share it with your kids, or even better co-create it with them (especially for older darlings) as it might help them with accepting this change – nothing more enticing than suspense!
One of the last things I read [that I liked] was, encourage your friends to do this too and then arrange a “toy-swap” system. This one is a win-win-win! Win for you as this is going to make sticking with this so much easier (you’re now part of a Toy-Rotation-Team – why not add some margaritas to the next “toy-rotation-team meetings 😊). It’s a win for our kids as there’s always new toys to play with (it’s a really great idea for video games) and a win for your friends and their children too for all the above-mentioned reasons.
The last thing to remember to do, is to hide the packed-up toys really well. These kids are like the secret service if they think there’s something in the house that is hidden from them – we’ve all seen that possessed look they get when they’re on that mission to find their Birthday or Christmas presents – so hide them well, like really, really well.
I know this blog is not for the faint hearted (or for everyone) and if you do give it a go you’ll probably be cursing our name as you are try to implement this into your family’s life. I always try to remember that the really good things are usually the hardest to achieve, and that’s because they’re really good, if it wasn’t then everything would always be good and where’s the fun in that.
Hope this was somewhat helpful, or inspiring. Once you start you won’t want to stop, I promise! Get into those kid’s spaces and just do it. For me anyway, my mental health actually suffers when I walk around our house and there’s sh*t everywhere. And if we are truthful, it’s not JUST them that makes the mess. I have a husband too 😊 #jokingnotjoking
The only other (real) alternative is to get them to clean up [properly] after themselves – yeah right, never going to happen… and if you know that’s not going to work maybe just reread this blog 😊
Bye for now,
The Verde Team